Chart: Shipments Of Retail Drones, 2019-2023

This is fascinating. Gartner published this data on drone shipments in December of last year, well before anyone imagined we were headed for a global coronavirus pandemic.

This is quite a steep adoption rate even before the imperative of social distancing and closed retail outlets and malls. As eMarketer details below, the adoption of delivery drones will likely increase as a result of COVID-19.

The coronavirus outbreak has given automated delivery a new sense of urgency. In China, JD.com, Pudu Technology and others have mobilized drones and robots to transport medical supplies within hospitals and clinics as well as to bring food, supplies and medicines to people confined to their homes.

Support for drones in ecommerce is also ticking up. In the US and elsewhere, a growing list of companies, including Amazon, UPS, Alphabet, Domino’s Pizza and Walmart, are already testing drones to help cut last-mile delivery costs for products like retail items, medicines and fast food. 

Gartner anticipates that 24.9 thousand enterprise drones designed for this purpose will ship worldwide this year, though those figures were released prior to the outbreak. Read the rest at eMarketer.

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